Muntinlupa City is fast shaping up as the greenest city in the country, its reputation built around its advocacy to deploy electric jeepneys in various sites in the city. Along this line, they can already stake claim to the title of the “EJeepney Capital of the Philippines”. For after all, it has the most number of Electric Jeepneys running in one city, thanks to the efforts of the local government unit and the private sector alike.
From the hustle and the bustle of the city, to the vast expanse and corporate ambiance of Filinvest City Alabang, to the cool and quiet surroundings of Ayala Alabang Village, one finds EJeepneys quietly but efficiently plying their routes.
Muntinlupa City Mayor Jaime Fresnedi has launched a pioneering EJeepney for Free or EJF program exclusively for its yellow card holders. The LGU uses a special card reader that swipes the card and keeps track of the yellow card holders who use the free green public transport system. If the passenger is not a yellow card holder, all he has to do is sign a logbook and the ride is free.
Rommel Juan, president of the Electric Vehicle Association of the Philippines (EVAP) observes that the city gives free rides to its residents and they love it. “It truly is a remarkable effort by the local government in introducing green transport to more commuters and gaining acceptance for them. Their operations template is definitely something worth emulating by other LGUs in other parts of the country”.
At the Barangay Hall in Muntinlupa are ten yellow EJeepneys parked on their respective charging bays in a charging station. Just right across the Barangay Hall inside the South Star Jeepney Terminal, there are two Jeepney slots allotted specifically for EJeepneys. Two additional EJeepneys are fielded inside the plush Ayala Alabang Village.
But the biggest EJeepney fleet operation in Muntinlupa is the EJeepney public transport system being managed by EVEEI or the Electric Vehicle Expansion Enterprises Inc. inside Filinvest City Alabang. This company was given the right to operate a green fleet of electric jeepneys within the 240-hectare Filinvest City, the flagship real estate development of the Filinvest Development Group.
This EJeepney Program is called the Filinvest City 360 Eco Loop wherein about 20 EJeepneys are fielded to service the bustling population of workers, office staff, shoppers, visitors and residents of the huge mixed-use real estate development.
EVEEI General Manager Rex Vergel says that by taking a ride in one of their EJeepneys, one will experience the fresh air and convenience of riding an EJeepney, which is in stark contrast to the smoky and noisy traditional Jeepneys. “We have effectively organized our EJeepneys and determined the optimum dispatch schedule for our EJeepneys to maximize efficiency in our operations. We have also learned a lot in terms of battery charging and maintaining the EJeepneys. So now, not only do we have an operational template that ensures efficiency but also an effective proof of concept that EV technology really works for EJeepneys for mass transport operations within Filinvest City and anywhere else for that matter”.
Juan explains that EVAP lauds the efforts of Muntinlupa City in introducing Green Public Transport Systems and they are indeed a radiant example of the political will of eco-friendly LGU officials that other LGUs may learn from. “We hope that more cities introduce electric vehicle initiatives in their own areas in other parts of the country and push the modernization of our public transport system.”